Men's Basketball

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NEWMAC Tournament Quarterfinal Preview: Men's Basketball vs. WPI

NEWMAC Tournament Quarterfinal Preview: Men's Basketball vs. WPI

NEWMAC Tournament Quarterfinal
Men's Basketball vs. WPI
Tuesday, February 19 | 7 p.m.
Staake Gymnasium | Babson Park, Mass.

THE SERIES
• Babson and WPI will meet for the 81st time overall and third time this season on Tuesday night. The Beavers are 49-31 all-time in a series that dates back to the 1974-75 campaign, but the Engineers snapped an eight-game losing streak in the series with a win in the final regular season meeting two weeks ago.

POSTSEASON HISTORY
• Babson and WPI will meet for the eighth time in the conference playoffs but first since 2013 and for just the third time in the last 11 years. The Beavers are 4-3 against the Engineers in tournament play, which dates back to the Constitution Athletic Conference (CAC) in 1991, but dropped two semifinal matchups by a total of three points in 2009 and 2013.

LAST MEETING
• Sophomore Jake Needleman scored a game-high 17 points and WPI outscored Babson 19-10 over the final 6:53 of regulation en route to a 70-61 win on February 6 in Worcester.
• Sophomore Reid Walker finished with 14 points for the Engineers, while sophomore Andrew Jaworski scored 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting for the Beavers.

LAST BABSON WIN
• Senior Brandon Johnson scored 15 points and the Beavers built a 15-point halftime lead before holding off WPI, 64-60, on January 5 in Babson Park.
• Junior Frank Oftring contributed 11 points, six rebounds and a game-high four assists for Babson. Walker scored a game-high 17 points to lead the Engineers.

SCOUTING THE ENGINEERS
• Fifth-seeded WPI (17-8, 8-6 NEWMAC), which is making its second consecutive quarterfinal appearance, has dropped three straight after suffering an 84-81 loss to eight-ranked MIT on Saturday.
• Sophomore Colin McNamara scored a career-high 27 points and classmate Garrett Stephenson added 11 points and eight rebounds for the Engineers.
• Walker (14.2 pts, 6.0 reb) has reached double figures in four straight games, Stephenson (12.4 pts, 6.8 reb) recently returned from injury and is shooting 58.1 percent, and McNamara (10.7 pts, 2.9 ast) is shooting 50.7 percent from the floor.
• WPI shot just 30 percent from beyond the arc and 67.1 percent at the free throw line while averaging nearly 11 fewer points per game on the road (68.1) than it did in 12 home games this winter.

SCOUTING THE BEAVERS
• Fourth-seeded Babson (15-10, 8-6 NEWMAC) will play its first conference quarterfinal since 2013 after suffering a 57-54 loss to Springfield on Saturday.
• Jaworski and Oftring both scored 12 points and junior Julian Alexis added 11 for the Beavers, who led by as many as 11 before being held scoreless over the final 6:01 of the second half.
• Jaworski (14.8 pts, 4.0 reb) is shooting 42.6 percent from beyond the arc, Oftring (13.1 pts, 6.5 reb, 2.4 ast) is shooting 55 percent on the year, and Johnson (11.8 pts, 6.8 reb) leads the team in rebounding.
• The Green and White has shot 49.6 percent overall and 43.9 percent from three-point range in five games in the month of February.

DOWN TO THE WIRE
• Going back to the 2013 NEWMAC Tournament semifinal between Babson and WPI, 11 of the last 13 games between the teams have been decided by single digits. Seven games have been decided by six points or less and two have gone to overtime.

400 CLUB
• Head coach Stephen Brennan, who has gone 37-25 in conference and NCAA Tournament games during his career, picked up his 400th career win when the Beavers defeated Emerson, 90-69, last Wednedsay.

LET IT FLY
• The Green and White made a league-high 145 three-point field goals in its 14 conference games, and is averaging 9.76 made three-pointers per game, which ranks 53rd in Division III.
• Six different players have made at least 25 triples this season for Babson, which connected on 22 trifectas in two games against WPI this season.

STUFFING THE STAT SHEET
• In his NEWMAC Tournament debut, a 70-61 loss to MIT last season, Johnson scored 17 points on 8-of-11 shooting to go along with five rebounds, four assists and three steals.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• The Beavers have won six of their last seven conference tournament games inside Staake Gymnasium dating back to 2012.

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